Berrettini Boosts London Hopes In Vienna

Italian to face Thiem in semi-finals

Matteo Berrettini earned a crucial win in his bid to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals on Friday, beating Andrey Rublev 7-5, 7-6(4) at the Erste Bank Open.

The 23-year-old ended Moscow champion Rublev’s seven-match win streak after one hour and 52 minutes, raising his level at the conclusion of both sets to reach his eighth tour-level semi-final of the year. Berrettini improves to 3-1 in his FedEx ATP Head2Head series against Rublev, adding to previous wins against the 22-year-old at the 2018 J. Safra Sarasin Swiss Open Gstaad and this year’s US Open.

“I am really happy. It was a tough match, mentally and physically,” said Berrettini. “Andrey is playing his best tennis so far. Last week, he won Moscow, so he was feeling confident and I saw it on the court.”

The Vienna debutant, who has won 19 of his 26 most recent tour-level clashes, adds 90 points to his ATP Race To London total for his quarter-final win. With 2,660 points, eighth-placed Berrettini moves 130 points clear of Roberto Bautista Agut. The Spaniard fell in three sets to Reilly Opelka in the Swiss Indoors Basel quarter-finals.

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As a result of this win, Berrettini will become only the fourth Italian to enter the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings on Monday. The 23-year-old joins countrymen Adriano Panatta, Corrado Barazzutti and Fabio Fognini in the exclusive club.

Berrettini is the sixth man to crack the Top 10 for the first time this year. This is the most debut Top 10 entries in a single season since 2006, when eight players achieved the feat. The three-time tour-level titlist will become the fourth player aged 23 or younger to make his Top 10 breakthrough this season.

Berrettini will meet top seed and home favourite Dominic Thiem for a spot in the championship match. Thiem was leading Pablo Carreno Busta 5-0 in the first set when the Spaniard was forced to retire from their quarter-final. Berrettini and Thiem are tied at 1-1 in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series.

After failing to convert two break points at 3-3, Berrettini claimed the only break of the first set four games later. The World No. 11 rushed Rublev with powerful forehands and moved to the net to finish points. With neither player able to break serve in the second set, Berrettini once again found his best level under pressure to seal the win. The Italian served with authority and played with patience from the baseline to extract errors and move into the last four.

Rublev was aiming to record his 35th tour-level win of the year (34-18). The World No. 22 picked up his second ATP Tour crown last week at the VTB Kremlin Cup, dropping just four games against Adrian Mannarino in the championship match.

Did You Know?
This is the first time since 2010 that each of the top four seeds has reached the quarter-finals at the Erste Bank Open.

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